A restriction in lawful congregations from groups of 25 to just 10 persons was the only significant change announced today by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as the country grapples with a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Even then, there were numerous exceptions. The guideline on congregations is relaxed for funerals, religious gatherings and SEA classes, while team sports can continue with spectators—rather than players—reduced to 10 persons.
Once more, it appeared to open the path for Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to hold his Commissioner’s Cup youth football tournament, which will involve more than 2,000 minors nationwide.
Rowley stressed, though, that political parties engaged in campaigning for the 10 August General Elections must abide by the new congregation rules.
For public sector workers, there will be change to their work schedule over the next 14 days as public secretaries are mandated to implement a rotation policy over that period. The government, according to Rowley, is monitoring the rate of infections at school and noted a case at a bar. However, they are not ready to act on either situation just yet.
Trinidad and Tobago has recorded 31 cases over the past 11 days with 19 local infections. At present, there are 29 persons hospitalised for the novel coronavirus with another 123 quarantined.
The country, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, has moved from ‘sporadic cases’ of infections to having ‘clusters of cases’.
Dr Avery Hinds, technical director of the Epidemiological Division, said the Ministry of Health remains unable to determine the source of the recent local infections. However, he split 15 of the 19 cases into three main clusters.
In the first instance, an infected person spread the virus to five relatives of the same address while there was a secondary infection at school and of a family friend.
In the second instance, there was a cluster of five persons with two persons being infected by their friend while ‘hanging out at a bar’. Another case involving two persons was described as a ‘lapse in regard to preventative protocols’ at the workplace.
There are also four individuals ‘with no clear epidemiological link and no spread yet’.
Hinds stressed that the Ministry of Health is trying to get ahead of the ‘train of transmission’ but needs persons to cooperate with the process of contact tracing and self-quarantine when required.
The Ministry of Health reminds members of the public to:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you go out in public;
- Keep your distance from others (six feet);
- Stay home if you are ill;
- Clean then sanitise surfaces, such as tabletops, door knobs and cell phones;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser;
- Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow;
- Avoid touching your face.
Persons are are urged to call Covid-19 hotline numbers: 800-WELL (Trinidad) and 800-HEAL (Tobago) if they feel unwell; or they can report a possible breach of Covid-19 regulations by calling 555, or sending messages—inclusive of photographs and videos—to the Police App or via Whats App to 482-GARY.